I have spent the better part of this morning and afternoon reading through the comments on this blog salon, and am thrilled at the amount of energy, excitement, and dialogue that this week’s online event has generated. This week alone, we’ve questioned the term “Emerging Leaders”, defined (or attempted to define) what Leadership is, and debated with ourselves whether we have had enough success to really qualify us to lead. On the other side, veteran leaders have told us to stop our whining, complaining, and discussing. We need to start doing our jobs, make ourselves and our communities matter, and start seeing the bigger picture. And – honestly, we need to hear that.
Right now, it seems like we are working in silos. We have silo’d our communities, our art forms (read John Steinmetz’s comment to Edward’s early post), our generations, and in turn – ourselves. The great thing about the 20UNDER40 Project is that it has generated so much discussion and some of these silos are beginning to break down. It’s clear from this weeks’ posts and comments that the arts field needs ALL of the ideas that we ALL bring to the table – the veterans and the emerging leaders. Collectively, we are only as strong as we are individually.
I believe veterans do have the responsibility to mentor and pass down knowledge to the next generation, and not cast generalizations that their younger colleagues are lazy and impatient. I also feel like a great supervisor listens to those around them, and truly values the opinion of their colleagues. On the other side, Generation X and Y should respect the positions of the veteran leaders above them, learn what they can, change what they can, and accept what they can’t change until it’s their turn to jump into the leadership position. This doesn’t mean Generation X and Y can’t be leaders. (Check out the audio podcast interview I did with Ruby Classen to hear her advice on leading in your organization and community from entry – middle level positions). It just means that sometimes, you have to wait your turn to affect all the changes. Read the rest of this entry »